Mad Dog Vachon
A brutal competitor and notorious heel
Maurice Mad Dog Vachon is an unorthodox character, brutal competitor, and infamous villain whose pro wrestling career spanned over four decades. Maurice “Mad Dog” Vachon is an unorthodox character and a brutal competitor who has been active in pro wrestling for over four decades. The Vachon family is well known for their involvement with wrestling. His brother Paul, sister Vivian, and nice Luna were all pro wrestlers. It was Maurice Vachon who emerged as the biggest superstar from his family of accomplished wrestlers. In 2004 he was inducted into the Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame along with his brother, Paul; and on March 27, 2010 Vachon was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame thus securing his place in the history of wrestling.
Maurice Vachon had a modest childhood. He was son of a policeman in Montreal, Canada who had 13 children. From childhood Vachon attended pro wrestling shows with his family and picked-up the sport at an early age. At age18 he competed in the 1948 Olympic Games in London, where he finished in seventh place. Although Vachon did not win gold at these games, it was there that he made the mot important connection of his career – he met an American Greco-Roman competitor named Verne Gagne. Maurice did go on to win the gold medal at the 1950 British Empire Games in New Zealand.
Vachon debuted as a pro in the four sided ring for Ontario booker Larry Kasaboski and impressed fans and promoters alike during his first year. Despite his exceptional grappling ability, he struggled to distinguish himself from the myriad of image-less grapplers during his early years. Eddie Quinn, the Montreal promoter, refused to use him in fear he would overshadow his top drawing talent. That resulted in Vachon deciding to bring his pro wresting skills on the road. To differentiate himself Maurice went bald and grew a long goatee. He also gained more muscle mass, bulking up form 170 to 240 pounds. As he traveled, he started to buy airtime from local TV channels before a match that he would use to declare his superiority and run-down his opponents. Such tactics were unheard of in those times and his revolutionary antics made him quite disliked; yet he drew a crowd, as he became a top heel in the wrestling industry. The gorilla approach to marketing himself coupled with his in-ring dirty-fighting style earned him the nickname “Mad Dog.” His notorious and dangerous rule-breaking and tendency to hurt his opponents with foreign objects, filed fingernails and his teeth, and the multiple and dangerous use of his signature finishing move the Piledirver, caused him to be banned in the three U.S. states from wrestling, That didn’t deter him and his unpopularity among wrestling fans increased – they loved to hate him.
In the early 1960s Mad Dog Vachon reunited with Verne Gagne and joined the Minneapolis, Minnesota-based AWA. Vachon became a top draw for the company, but almost as soon as he arrived and started a bitter feud with Verne Gagne. Their war continued for nearly two decades. It was one of the greatest rivalries of all time with both beating each other for the AWA World Heavyweight title. Mad Dog became a major player with the AWA and continued to be one of the greatest heels and most disliked pro wrestlers in the industry.
He also formed a stable later in the AWA known as the Vachon Family along with his brother, sister and niece. The stable ran for nearly a decade and Mad Dog Vachon remained a heel during all this time.
Mad Dog Vachon’s final AWA title reign came to an end on February 26, 1967 at the hands of Verne Gagne. He then briefly left the promotion in order to return to his native Montreal territory, where he captured two reigns as the IWA International Heavyweight Champion while feuding against Johnny Rougeau and Hans Schmidt. Despite his popularity and deep roots in Montreal, Vachon would soon return to the AWA, where he had deep battles with The Crusher and Dick the Bruiser. Additionally, Mad Dog formed a successful and vicious tandem with his brother Paul “Butcher” Vachon. The violent fights were a departure form the traditional Greco Roman wrestling promoted by Gagne. Nonetheless, the violent fights and threats ultimately served as the precursor for a new brand of sadistic pro wrestling superstars like Abdullah the Butcher, Bruiser Brody, Stan Hansen, and others.
After two decades as one sport entertainment’s most evil characters, the fans suddenly began to rally behind Mad Dog Vachon in the late 1970s when he formed an unexpected and odd friendship with ex-archrival Verne Gagne. The unlikely partners made for an impressive tag team, and on June 6, 1979, they beat Pat Patterson & Ray Stevens to capture the AWA tag titles, which they held for over a year before losing to Jesse Ventura & Adrian Adonis. But when the AWA began looking to younger stars Vachon jumped to the World Wrestling Federation in 1984. While his age and lack of size did not make for a good mix in the emerging "Hulkamania" era, Vachon was a fan favorite and put people in the seats, as he does to this day.
In 1987 a hit-and-run driver struck Mad Dog's vehicle, which lead to the forced amputation of his leg. Following the accident, Vachon moved to his wife’s hometown of Omaha, Nebraska. An expert in self-promotion, Mad Dog used his artificial leg as a part of his gimmick. He appeared at the WWF pay-per-view In Your House 7; held in Omaha. He was sitting in the front row near ringside, when wrestler Diesel tore off Vachon's artificial leg. The prosthetic was later used as a weapon during a match with Shawn Michaels. In addition, he and longtime rival The Crusher made an appearance at the 1998 Over the Edge pay-per-view, in a segment where the two legends were mocked by Jerry "The King" Lawler, including Lawler trying to steal the artificial leg. Crusher and Mad Dog then punched Lawler out of the ring and shook hands.
Mad Dog Vachon remains one of the biggest heels, stars, and fan favorites, of all time. He continues to make appearances at legends reunions and independent promotions.
Mad Dog Vachon's Pro Wrestling Moves
Piledriver (the multiple use of which led him to be banned tin three US states)
Biting the opponent's forehead
Leapfrog body guillotine
Single arm choke
Mad Dog Vachon Stats
Born: September 14, 1929
Height: 5ft 9 in
Weight: 231 lb
From: Montreal, Canada